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The end of the school year is always a slightly strange time in our schools.

Some may think it is just about celebrations and winding down, after a hectic period of examinations.

In truth, there is very little time to ‘wind down’ with so much to fit into the last few weeks of school.

Sports days and end of term plays, proms and leaving assemblies all take a huge amount of planning – however much fun they are for all involved.

End of year school reports have to be juggled with transition events and planning for next year, just as much as reviewing the year that has gone.

As always, the last term is incredibly busy for every school as we approach the summer holidays.

It is a similar story for the trust, where we have a period of pause and reflection on what has been an incredibly challenging year for education across the country with uncertainty about a national pay dispute and fewer trainee teachers.

But we also warmly recall the success stories, the positive Ofsted reports, individual achievements of students, progress made by staff in their careers and so much more.

We also look to the future, within our three-year strategy, and what we want the trust and our schools to achieve going forward.

Last month, I previewed our staff development event, ‘Unity Day’, which would see all our schools join together for a variety of workshops and seminars.

I am delighted to say that it was a huge success with more than 1,200 members of staff attending and keynote speeches from Tom Bennett OBE, Lord Simon Woolley, Principal of Homerton College, and Alex Green, from Let’s Go Zero.

In keeping with previous years, we had some fantastic staff-led sessions, this year based around seven key themes to help empower staff and make remarkable change happen.

It was a great chance to come together, to network, to have fun and to learn.

Unity Day also allowed us to salute and thank our staff with nominations for our Unity Awards 2023.

And that is where I want to end the last newspaper column of this school year. By saying thank you.

Education, like so many sectors currently, is challenging – often because of things that we can’t control.

But that doesn’t stop so many amazing staff doing so much to provide the best possible education for every young child in our schools.

On behalf of everyone at Unity Schools Partnership, I would like to wish all staff and students, parents and our local communities, a very happy summer holidays.

By Tim Coulson, Chief Executive, Unity Schools Partnership